Professional investors are forecasting strong growth in the value of Africa’s internet economy, with mobile phones poised as a core piece of the expansion; new research for World Mobile shows.
The study, undertaken by the independent research company PureProfile on behalf of the blockchain-based mobile network operator, reported how 25 per cent of respondents expect the value of Africa’s internet economy to more than double over the course of next three years from the current estimate of $115billion.
In addition to this, 51 per cent of professional investors expect the economy to be worth even more; with projections for 2025 topping $200billion.
Increased mobile phones usage will naturally be paramount to such extraordinary growth, an area that has been accelerated by the increasing affordability of hardware.
Seventy-one per cent of investors expect affordability of mobile phones in Africa to improve over the next three years. It’s currently estimated that they account for around 6.8 per cent of the average monthly income, while nearly all professional investors (97 per cent) believe the pandemic has accelerated the demand for mobile access.
Adhering to such a demand, World Mobile has announced that it is to launch its own unique hybrid mobile network, which will be supported by low altitude platform balloons in Zanzibar. The mobile network will reportedly roll out the initiative throughout the continent, and it’s already in talks with government officials in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other territories underserviced by traditional mobile operators.
“Professional investors see the opportunities for the African internet economy and are clearly expecting mobile phones to play a central role in driving it forward over the next three years,” comments Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile.
“Affordability is central to the increasing adoption of mobile phones but none of it is achievable without connectivity. We want to help create a world where everyone can access affordable connectivity, a world where economic freedom is a truth and a world where people are able to jump on the opportunities that internet creates.”
Professional investors questioned believe healthcare is the sector that will see the most benefit from increased connectivity. Around 53 per cent highlighted the opportunities for healthcare ahead of e-commerce on 42 per cent and media and entertainment on 40 per cent.
Education was chosen as a benefit by 33 per cent of professional investors questioned alongside finance which was selected by 34 per cent.
World Mobile’s balloons will be the first to officially launch in Africa for commercial use, providing a more cost-effective way to provide digital connection to people and is the first step in its mission to help bring nearly four billion people online before 2030 in line with the UN and World Bank’s SDGs.
The World Mobile approach is more sustainable, in environmental, social and governance terms. Environmental impacts are mitigated using solar-powered nodes, second-life batteries, and energy-efficient technology.
World Mobile creates a positive societal impact through the application of its circular ‘sharing economy’ model, where locals share in the ownership and rewards of the network. Governance is maintained by the secure underlying blockchain technology, which means that user data privacy is guaranteed and not commercially applied as it is by other mobile operators.